Bioeconomy as a chance for sustainable development of the regions – RDI2CluB final conference in Poland

Sept. 29, 2020 | Bioeconomy Knowledge and Development Center

We all wish to live in a clean, pollution-free and well prospering region which cares for its inhabitants. The best way to achieve that is, certainly, bioeconomy. To facilitate achieving this goal in the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, several years ago its authorities had decided to engage in the RDI2CluB. On the 24 September 2020 they officially summed up its results in the region. The final conference was held on-line and it was moderated by dr Małgorzata Pink from the University of Agriculture in Cracow who is also a manager of a similar bioeconomy project BLOOM. Around 80 people participated in it via the Internet.

The Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship has participated in the RDI2CluB project from 1 October 2017 to 30 September 2020. This does not mean that bioeconomy in the region terminates in a few days. On the contrary, it is expected to flourish thanks to such a basis. - Thanks to the project we actually started to perceive the bioeconomy as one of the pillars of the region. Although it has been present in four out of seven region’s smart specializations – modern agriculture and food processing, sustainable construction, health tourism and sustainable energy production, we never looked at it as a whole – admitted Mr Andrzej Bętkowski, Marshal of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, opening the final project conference. The main ideas of the RDI2CluB projects were later presented by Mr Sławomir Neugebauer, Director of the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Marshal Office of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship and a bioeconomy expert of PP8 RDI2CluB team.

The fact that bioeconomy is a prospective domain is reflected in many EU countries’ bioeconomy strategies or other state documents. In Poland it is a document entitled “The roadmap of transformation towards circular economy”, adopted in 2019. The Świetokrzyskie Voivodeship also refers to bioeconomy in its strategic documents. Additionally, the Regional Bioeconomy Profile has been created as a part of the RDI2CluB project. – Bioeconomy has been present in our official documents, yet not directly. We have had references to it in our Regional Development Strategy or Regional Innovation Strategy. Soon, it will be also mentioned in the project of the Regional Development Strategy 2030+, which is in the consultation phase. The term is going to be officially mentioned there – assured Mr Tomasz Janusz, vice Director of the Department of Investments and Development in the Marshal Office of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. Bioeconomy has been also present in 316 projects co-funded by the Regional Operational Programme for Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship 2014-2020. They were run i.a. by farmers, companies and municipalities. The prospects which bioeconomy creates for the companies were discussed by another conference panelist, Mrs Katarzyna Błachowicz from the Waste Management and Recycling Cluster in a presentation “Bioeconomy as a chance for green businesses”.

A great success of the RDI2CluB project was engaging the youth and children in the subjects of bioeconomy and circular economy. Last year the ideas were taken up by the Youth Assembly of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship during two of their sessions. This year, during the new tenure of this body, they appointed the Commission for Environmental Protection, which officially consults e.g. the Regional Development Strategy 2030+ as well as other projects of state acts of the Regional Assembly of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. The Commission’s Chairman, Oskar Frydrych, presented also the SmogOut project – created by some young councilors in cooperation with RDI2CluB. It concerns educating the citizens on the importance of air quality and their role in local bioeconomy, mainly through meetings and lectures in primary schools.

The panel presentations were followed by a joint discussion with Marek Jońca, Member of the Board of the Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, Tadeusz Pęczek, president of EPRD and Foundation for Education and Social Dialogue Pro Civis – his institution is one of the RDI2CluB project partners, responsible for the development and testing of the platform, as well as Monika Malanowicz from Regional Science and Technology Centre – another RDI2CluB project partner, responsible for appointing the bioeconomy Hub in the region. Their discussion focused on creating new possibilities in regional bioeconomy development by enhancing cooperation and facilitating the entrepreneurs engaging in the process.

The RDI2CluB is co-funded from the European Regional Development Fund Interreg Programme BSR 2014-2020.